Before the madness of the 10th annual Taste of Soul (TOS) kicked off, some of the most important people and organizations responsible for making the festival happen gathered together to celebrate at the California African American Museum.
On Friday, October 16th, sponsors, festival chairs and community members were invited to the museum to celebrate all of their hard work.
Buick, a Taste of Soul sponsor, came out to celebrate and brought two of its newest vehicles, the 2016 Enclave Tuscan Edition and the 2016 LaCrosse, for guests to check out.
“Sponsoring the VIP reception is a great opportunity to honor and celebrate all of the hard work required to make this event happen. We look forward to meeting and talking with the attendees who care as much about the community as Buick,” said Buick’s National Sales and Promotions Manager, Chris Hornberger.
The night also recognized returning sponsors, like South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD). On the day of the festival the air pollution control organization displayed cars that featured zero emissions.
“This is AQMD’s second year of being a sponsor and we were very impressed last year with the activities so we decided to come back this year,” said Clark Parker, board member of the South Coast AQMD.
For many of the sponsors, the night was a great way to network with individuals with similar goals.
“I get to see a lot of people in the community who are like-minded and all want to support the family festivities so it’s almost like a family reunion and connecting with friends,” said Bank of America division administrative manager Michelle Avan. Bank of America is also a TOS sponsor.
One of the major draws of TOS is that, since its inception 10 years ago, it has been a peaceful festival. This year law enforcement came out to celebrate with us. LAPD, California Highway Patrol and LA County Sheriffs were in the house.
“I think the best part is networking and interacting with some of the key players of the event,” said Los Angeles Fire Department deputy chief Darryl Arbuthnott. “I’ve actually participated for about eight years for the incident command site, where we manage incidents.”
Other guests of the event included co-chair and Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Dr. Janette Parker of Today’s Fresh Start Charter Schools, and even Mayor Eric Garcetti. LA County President and Taste of Soul Chair, Herb Wesson, spoke to the guests and commended the Bakewell Family for bringing such a safe, fun filled event to the community for the last ten years.
“I cannot believe it’s been 10 years,” Garcetti said. “This is now the biggest event in Los Angeles.”
For dinner, guests dined on fried chicken, greens and macaroni and cheese by LaSassier Catering and they were treated to a cooking demo from renowned chef, Daria LaSassier, who showed the audience how to create delicious appetizers such as crab cakes with a remoulade sauce and buffalo chicken bites.
As they were leaving, happy guests and sponsors were given gift bags full of goodies and parting words from the founder of TOS, Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. “Taste of Soul is about four things, Family, Fun, Food, and Respect,” said Bakewell Sr.
The guests left with anticipation of the next day’s events, the 10th Anniversary of Taste of Soul on Crenshaw Boulevard.